Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Wednesday: Obama's reality

Obama wants credit

President Obama told supporters at a fundraiser in Miami Monday night that HE DESERVES CREDIT FOR CLEANING UP THE MESS HE INHERITED.

“My job over these first two years has frankly been to clean up a big mess,” Mr. Obama said at a $10,000-per-ticket event at a gated mansion in Miami Beach. “WE WERE ABLE TO MAKE SURE WE YANKED AN ECONOMY OUT OF WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN A SECOND GREAT DEPRESSION.”

The president spoke to guests on a tented lawn with a view of the Miami skyline at the $5.9 million home of former Samsonite CEO Steve Green, former ambassador to Singapore in the Clinton administration.

“WE STABILIZED THE FINANCIAL SYSTEM,” the president said. “WE MADE SURE THAT WE ENDED ONE WAR AND STARTED PUTTING ANOTHER WAR ON A PATH WHERE WE COULD START BRING MORE TROOPS HOME. WE RESTORED A SENSE AROUND THE WORLD OF WHAT AMERICAN VALUES AND IDEALS WERE ALL about. We had to address an auto industry that was on the verge of liquidation. We had to get the economy moving again and we had to get jobs created again.”


Obama may appear delusional, but as neuroscientist Earl Miller explains, "The brain is very good at deluding itself."  This reminds me of a contractor who was going to do a job for you on your home in three weeks for $20,000.  Three months later everything is a mess and the bill in now $200,000 and he wants credit for what he's done so far. 

Michelle and the Kids Okay with Obama being a one term President

President Barack Obama says his wife and daughters aren't "invested" in him being president and would have been fine had he decided against running for re-election. But he says they believe in what he's doing for the country.

Asked about his family's reaction to his wanting another term, Obama said: "Michelle and the kids are wonderful in that if I said, `You know, guys, I want to do something different,' They'd be fine. THEY'RE NOT INVESTED IN DADDY BEING PRESIDENT OR MY HUSBAND BEING PRESIDENT."


This is probably a good thing since there are a lot of wives and kids who will be bitterly disappointed if Obama is elected again. 

A glimpse of things to come?

A low-dollar fundraiser here Monday felt like a throwback to the 2008 campaign.

There was the same old soundtrack – including “City of Blinding Lights” by U2, the president’s 2008 anthem -- the enthusiastic organizers and the abundant appeals for supporters to rally behind President Obama.


Granted, it was a fundraiser, not a free rally. But the empty seats were hard to miss.


"The expectation was 900," a Democratic official said, and more than 980 tickets were sold.


"This is going to be a very tough fight," said Alonzo Mourning, the former Miami Heat player, who spoke ahead of the president. Once Obama took the stage, a protester interrupted him at one point, repeatedly yelling: "Keep your promise, stop AIDS now." But THE PROTESTER WAS QUICKLY DROWNED OUT BY THE AUDIENCE CHANTING, "OBAMA, OBAMA, OBAMA."


What struck me about this story was that when a heckler was there, the crowd chanted “Obama, Obama, Obama…” I’ve been to Tea Party Rallies and what you hear there is “USA, USA, USA…”

2008 Supporters haven’t fared well under Obama

Barack Obama benefited from strong support among a number of demographic groups during his 2008 presidential campaign. In an economic sense, AFTER TWO-AND-A-HALF YEARS OF HIS PRESIDENCY, THOSE SAME GROUPS WHICH SHOWED HIM THE GREATEST SUPPORT HAVE SUFFERED DISPROPORTIONATELY MORE THAN OTHERS IN THE UNITED STATES….

African Americans
….When Obama took office in January 2009, the nation's unemployment rate stood at 7.6%. For AFRICAN-AMERICANS, AS A GROUP, THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE WAS 12.6%.

Fast forward two-and-a-half years and, according to the latest data released for May 2011, the nation's unemployment rate is 9.1%. THE PRESENT RATE OF UNEMPLOYMENT RATE FOR BLACKS IS 16.2%.

College/Young Professionals
… Exit poll data from 2008 show Obama enjoyed a 66% APPROVAL RATING FOR THE 18-29 YEAR-OLD demographic group.

Unfortunately for this group, economic opportunities have become more and more scarce during Obama's presidency. According to a recent report from the Economic Policy Institute, for calendar year 2010, THE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE FOR WORKERS 16-24 YEARS OF AGE AVERAGED 18.4% VERSES A RATE OF 9.6% FOR THE OVERALL POPULATION….


Will Obama be able to recreate the magic that swept him into office? Is the pope Muslim?

What does the Obama voter look like?

Looking at the latest polls from Gallup here is the group Obama is popular with (over 50% approval): an unmarried nonwhite Eastern liberal democrat under the age of 49 with a postgraduate degree who seldom or never goes to church.


Republican Debate

Overall, I was impressed. The talking heads keep chattering about a "weak" GOP field, but I didn't perceive weakness tonight. I saw a panel of strong, passionate communicators, and a number of credible alternatives to our current president and his disastrous policies. My quick, early take on each contender:

Bachmann - A STRONG PERFORMANCE. She came across as informed, polished, and personally invested in many of the issues that conservatives care about. I'm not sure why she chose to officially announce her candidacy during the first question, rather than her introductory comments, but that's a small quibble. Many conservatives will be very pleased that she is in, especially after tonight.

Cain - DELIVERED A FEW GOOD LINES, but was not nearly as strong as he was during his en fuego showing in South Carolina. His refusal to get into any specifics on foreign policy is troubling.

Gingrich - SEEMED UNFAZED BY HIS RECENT STAFFING, ER, ISSUES, and did a reasonably good job. Newt often comes across as professorial and long-winded, and lived up to those expectations again. He also gave another muddled, unconvincing answer on his infamous potshots at the Paul Ryan plan.

Paul - ADHERED TO HIS ISOLATIONIST, LIBERTARIAN POLICY PREFERENCES, and seemed less angry than he often does. Got the biggest laugh of the night when he was asked to name one economic policy President Obama has gotten right. His response: "That's a tough question!"

Pawlenty - Unlike his South Carolina triumph, T-PAW STUMBLED OUT OF THE GATE TONIGHT. He recovered with solid answers on national security and abortion, but not before he appeared weak and unwilling to really challenge Mitt Romney on the Massachusetts health program. If you're going to coin the term "Obamneycare" (which I think could be very effective), you need to own it. He didn't tonight.

Romney - TONIGHT'S WINNER, IN MY BOOK. He looked and sounded like he deserves the front-runner label. Poised and informed. He breezed through the Romneycare non-gauntlet virtually unscathed, which is a shame. If the rest of the pack wants to dislodge him from front-runner status, they're going to have to aggressively challenge him on this issue. The former Governor appeared to be in full command, and even had the awareness to sneak in the Bruins score (good news for the crowd), a savvy move in front of a New England audience.

Santorum - AN IMPROVEMENT OVER HIS RIGID, STILTED SOUTH CAROLINA SHOWING. He gave several good answers (separation of church and state, foreign policy come to mind), but I wouldn't call this a breakout performance -- which, as a perceived second-tier candidate, he's going to need…..


Just starting, but it appears to be a good start.

Bachman is in


"I filed today my paperwork to run for president of the United States … I wanted you to be the first to know," she said.

She added she would make a formal announcement at a later time

Not really news, but it is official now.

Palin disappoints her Foes again


That's better than many major CEOs.

In comparison, Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address scored a grade level of 9.1 on the same scale, and Martin Luther King, Jr.'s seminal 'I Have a Dream' speech scored an 8.8 on the scale.


'However, the emails say something else. Ms. Palin writes emails on her Blackberry at a grade level of 8.5.


It appears she’s not only not illiterate, but actually smart.


Economics explained so even leftists can understand

Economics is too hard for liberals and many others. Who can tell from deficits and multipliers, after all? So it is time to dumb economics down, and make it simple enough for a baby to understand. "Economics for Babies." This could be a publishing sensation to equal the Dummies phenomenon. Here is how it works.

Drill, Baby, Drill. Our liberal friends are convinced, because their tame climate scientists have told them so, that conventional energy sources are either doomed, as in Peak Oil, or evil, as in coal and nuclear energy. IT'S A PITY THAT HORIZONTAL FRACTURING IS MAKING MONKEYS OUT OF THE PEAK OIL CHAPPIES. The only way to approach energy is to let the Rockefellers and the Fricks and the Texans and the Albertans and the North Dakotans go for it. If they make a mess -- and they will -- then we will make 'em clean it up.

Cut, Baby, Cut. Our liberal friends are convinced that, given sufficiently rigorous policy analysis and sufficiently inspired political leadership, they can design and build the bridge to the future with government programs. BUT THE TRUTH IS THAT GOVERNMENT SPENDING, ALL GOVERNMENT SPENDING, IS A WASTE, STARTING WITH THE PENTAGON AND DEFENSE SPENDING. …

Grow, Baby, Grow. Our liberal friends are convinced that government must invest in the infrastructure to build "public goods." That is the rationale behind President Obama's crazed push for fast trains, clean green energy, and the rest of the liberal crony capitalist agenda…. …POLITICIANS ARE EXPERTS IN WINNING ELECTIONS, AND BUSINESSMEN ARE EXPERTS IN GROWING THE ECONOMY. POLITICIANS SHOULD STICK TO POLITICS, AND LET BUSINESSMEN GET ON WITH BUSINESS. Come on liberals: we all know how to grow the economy. You do it will low tax rates on people and low taxes on jobs.

Debt, Baby, Debt. What is it about the national debt? Under Alexander Hamilton the US national debt ignited an economic boom. UNDER PRESIDENT OBAMA IT HAS SENT THE ECONOMY ON A RECOVERY TO NOWHERE.….

….Real economics is pretty simple. A baby could understand it. THE REASON IT'S GOTTEN SO COMPLICATED IS THAT POLITICIANS ARE ALWAYS TRYING TO GAME THE ECONOMY TO BUY VOTES. Spend, Baby, Spend!


This one is worth reading.


Why ObamaCare Is Losing in the Courts

When we first articulated ObamaCare's fundamental constitutional flaws in these pages nearly two years ago, our objections were met with derision by the law's defenders. Those who have been following the unfolding litigation are no longer laughing.

Three U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals are poised to render decisions on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in the coming months. Despite hundreds of briefing pages and numerous oral arguments, GOVERNMENT LAWYERS HAVE YET TO ADDRESS THE LAW'S MOST BASIC CONSTITUTIONAL INFIRMITY. Only a "general police power"—the right to enact laws alleged to be in the public interest without regard to interstate commerce or some other federal legislative authority—can support the law's centerpiece, the "individual mandate" that all Americans purchase health insurance. THE CONSTITUTION DENIES THAT POWER TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, RESERVING IT TO THE STATES ALONE.

In enacting the individual mandate, Congress purported to rely on its power to regulate interstate commerce and, in the process, reach individuals who are already engaged in that commerce. BUT THE INDIVIDUAL MANDATE DOES NOT REGULATE COMMERCE, INTERSTATE OR OTHERWISE. IT SIMPLY DECREES THAT ALL AMERICANS, UNLESS SPECIALLY EXEMPTED, MUST HAVE A CONGRESSIONALLY PRESCRIBED LEVEL OF HEALTH-INSURANCE COVERAGE REGARDLESS OF ANY ECONOMIC ACTIVITY IN WHICH THEY MAY BE ENGAGED. Requiring individuals to act simply because they exist is the defining aspect of the general police power that Congress lack,

The GOVERNMENT'S LAWYERS, RECOGNIZING THIS FUNDAMENTAL CONSTITUTIONAL REALITY, HAVE TRIED TO REWRITE THE LAW SO THAT IT CAN WITHSTAND JUDICIAL SCRUTINY. They have claimed that THE INDIVIDUAL MANDATE IS A TAX, DESPITE COMMON SENSE, judicial precedent, and numerous statements to the contrary by the law's sponsors and President Obama. They have also argued that OBAMACARE DOES NOT ACTUALLY IMPOSE A MANDATE ON INACTIVE CITIZENS, BUT RATHER REGULATES HOW INDIVIDUALS WILL PAY FOR THEIR HEALTH CARE. As Solicitor General Neal Katyal recently put it, THE MANDATE IS "ABOUT FAILURE TO PAY, NOT FAILURE TO BUY." This is plainly wrong. The law requires that everyone have health insurance—without regard to whether or how they buy or pay for medical services…


Failure to pay???? Talk about digging deep.


Immigration and the Welfare State

CONSERVATIVE AND LIBERTARIAN CRITICS OF IMMIGRATION LIKE TO CITE MILTON FRIEDMAN’S OBSERVATION THAT “[Y]OU CANNOT SIMULTANEOUSLY HAVE FREE IMMIGRATION AND A WELFARE STATE,” which co-blogger Ken Anderson recently endorsed. The fear is that, given relatively open borders, immigrants from poor countries will flock to wealthy ones and undermine their economies by consuming huge amounts of welfare benefits.

I am a great admirer of Friedman and his scholarship. But he was not an expert on immigration, and, as far as I can tell, he never systematically studied the evidence on the impact of immigration on political support for the welfare state. THAT EVIDENCE OVERWHELMINGLY SHOWS THAT ETHNIC HETEROGENEITY GREATLY REDUCES SUPPORT FOR WELFARE STATE SPENDING because voters are less willing to support welfare programs if they believe that a large percentage of the money is going to members of a different racial or ethnic group.

I cite some of the relevant studies in a recent article in the International Affairs Forum on Immigration (pg. 43). THE RESEARCH SHOWS THAT THIS EFFECT HOLDS TRUE EVEN IN A STRONGLY LEFT-WING COUNTRY LIKE SWEDEN. This book by political scientists Donald Kinder and Cindy Kam presents the evidence for the United States (and to, a lesser, extent several European countries). HISTORICALLY, THE GREATER ETHNIC DIVERSITY OF THE US IS ONE OF THE MAIN REASONS WHY WE HAVE A SMALLER WELFARE STATE THAN MOST EUROPEAN NATIONS; the evidence on that point is summarized in a well-known study by Edward Glaeser and Alberto Alesina. Because PEOPLE ARE MOST LIKELY TO SUPPORT WELFARE PROGRAMS WHEN THE MONEY GOES TO RECIPIENTS WHO ARE “LIKE US,” IMMIGRATION ACTUALLY UNDERMINES THE WELFARE STATE RATHER THAN REINFORCES IT. ….


An interesting look at a very perplexing problem.

Government Regulations

Drug shortages

Currently there are about 246 drugs that are in short supply, a record high. These shortages are not just a result of accident, error or unusual circumstance, the number of drugs in short supply has risen steadily since 2006. The shortages arise from a combination of systematic factors, among them the policies of the FDA. THE FDA HAS INADVERTENTLY CAUSED DRUGS LONG-USED IN THE UNITED STATES TO BE WITHDRAWN FROM THE MARKET AND ITS “GOOD MANUFACTURING PRACTICE” RULES HAVE GUMMED UP THE DRUG PRODUCTION PROCESS AND RAISED COSTS.

Here, for example, is an analysis from the summary report on drug shortages by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP), the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), and the Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP).

“Several drug shortages (e.g., concentrated morphine sulfate solution, levothyroxine injection) HAVE BEEN PRECIPITATED BY ACTUAL OR ANTICIPATED ACTION BY THE FDA AS PART OF THE UNAPPROVED DRUGS INITIATIVE, which is designed to increase enforcement against drugs that lack FDA approval to be marketed in the United States. (These drugs are commonly called PRE-1938 DRUGS, REFERRING TO THEIR AVAILABILITY PRIOR TO PASSAGE OF THE FOOD, DRUG, AND COSMETIC ACT OF THAT YEAR.) Some participants noted that THE COST AND COMPLEXITY OF COMPLETING A NEW DRUG APPLICATION (NDA) FOR THOSE UNAPPROVED DRUGS IS A DISINCENTIVE FOR ENTERING OR MAINTAINING A MARKET PRESENCE. Other regulatory barriers include the time for FDA review of Abbreviated New Drug Applications (ANDA) and supplemental applications, which are required for changes to FDA-approved drug products (e.g., change in source for active pharmaceutical ingredients API, change in manufacturer). Manufacturers described this approval process as lengthy and unpredictable, which limits their ability to develop reliable production schedules.”


Hmmm, so we have drugs that are 73 years old or more and the FDA want to qualify them now? And it’s causing shortages. This is stupidity at its most bureaucratic.


Are we headed to a mini-Ice Age?

What may be the science story of the century is breaking this evening, as HEAVYWEIGHT US SOLAR PHYSICISTS ANNOUNCE THAT THE SUN APPEARS TO BE HEADED INTO A LENGTHY SPELL OF LOW ACTIVITY, which could mean that the Earth – far from facing a global warming problem – is actually headed into a mini Ice Age.

The announcement made on 14 June (18:00 UK time) comes from scientists at the US National Solar Observatory (NSO) and US Air Force Research Laboratory. Three different analyses of the Sun's recent behaviour ALL INDICATE THAT A PERIOD OF UNUSUALLY LOW SOLAR ACTIVITY MAY BE ABOUT TO BEGIN….

…"If we are right," summarises Hill, "this could be the last solar maximum we'll see for a few decades. That would affect everything from space exploration to Earth's climate."


The relationship of sunspots and climate has been well established for centuries. A lot of sunspots leads to warmer weather, better crops, and prosperity. A low number of sunspots lead to colder weather, shorter growing seasons, and less prosperity. Even the Farmer’s Almanac admits that sunspots are part of the formula they use to predict the weather since 1818 (with 80-85 percent accuracy).

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